Senator Michael B. Enzi (submitted written testimony)
Madame Chairman and Ranking Member Inhofe,
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to submit a statement at today’s hearing. I agree with the Ranking Member of the Committee that such a statement is better suited for a session of morning business on the Senate floor. However, I believe it is important to have a balanced debate, and so I want to make my views clear for the record.
There is no question that the issue of climate change is on the minds of the American people. Discussions on climate change, which are traditionally commonplace in the media, are now commonplace around the water cooler. Unfortunately, those discussions are dominated by misinformation and are based on scare tactics. Rather than allowing the science to run its course, the issue has become politicized.
I do not believe that climate change is nearly as pressing a problem many proponents would suggest. We do not trust our weathermen to predict the temperature a week in advance, and so it is difficult for me to believe that individuals can predict the weather 100 years from now. Particularly given that just a few decades ago, we were told that the world was entering the next ice age, I struggle to see how some can discuss the issue with absolute certainty.
Because the science is not settled on the issue of climate change, I will not support any actions that will put the United States at an economic disadvantage without any guarantees that the problem is real and without any guarantees that these so-called solutions will address the issue.
As that is the case, I base my position on climate change on the Byrd-Hagel Resolution, which passed the United States Senate on June 12, 1997 by a vote of 95–0. The legislation should set the standards for United States signature on any treaty that forces the reduction of greenhouse gases. The resolution requires that all nations, including developing nations like China and India, be a part of any agreement. Additionally, the resolution requires that any measures enacted domestically do not harm our country’s economy.
If we act, we must do so in a way that makes sense and does not dramatically disadvantage the United States. My experience at the Kyoto Conference tells me that the mandatory CO2 caps that have been proposed do not meet the high standard laid out under the Byrd-Hagel Resolution.
I was a member of the United States Senate delegation to Kyoto, Japan in 1997 where the Kyoto Protocol was drafted. One of the things I noticed when I got to that conference was that the delegation from the United States was one of the only delegations who were treating Kyoto as an environmental conference. The vast majority of nations in attendance realized that it was an economic conference. They saw Kyoto as an opportunity to harm the U.S. economy. The Chinese delegation, whose country represents the world’s fastest growing emitter of CO2, made it clear that they would never be part of a treaty that forced them to reduce their CO2 emissions. Without involving China, no treaty or action to reduce CO2 makes any sense.
Instead of enacting costly legislation to cap CO2 emissions, I think the right approach is to develop technology and to share that technology with other nations. Doing so allows cleaner technologies to spread throughout the world, which is the best solution to what many believe is a “global problem.”
Thank you again for allowing me to share my thoughts on this issue.